Decoupage/découpage is the art of decorating an object by gluing soft materials such as coloured/printed paper, tissue or cloth cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and other decorative elements. If you’re not that familiar with the practice, it’s tempting to dismiss decoupage as ‘too crafty’ for the ‘serious and modern’ home. On the other hand, if you’ve seen the creations of Charles Farrugia, then it’s likely you’re already won over.
I. Charlie acquires furniture that’s about to be thrown away, or is no longer needed
This includes garage sales, local religious institutions with second-hand furniture, and people who are about to move and thereby need to get rid of the furniture they own.
Upcycling (transforming and improving) furniture you already own, or that other people no longer need, can be a fantastic way to add your own personal character in your home without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, upcycling and DIY work requires practice, commitment and consistency. Many homeowners are constrained by tight budgets, small spaces and a shortage of time; and this usually means they don’t have the resources to buy high-end, expensive furniture, and likewise do not have the time to do DIY projects in their home.
II. Sometimes, homeowners give Charlie a furniture item they’d like him to transform for them
When his work is requested by a homeowner, Charlie goes to their home to check the setting and style of the interiors.
This helps him envision a piece that fits with the context.
III. For Charlie, the first step is restoration
Depending on the state of the furniture, this can mean cleaning the item with sugar soap, applying stock to cracks and fissures, to taking the furniture item apart and reassembling it anew.
IV. The process of decoupage is as much a science as it is an art
Decoupage requires the handling, manipulation and attachment of incredible fragile materials such as paper, one layer of tissue, or soft drapery. For a good result, you need a keen understanding of how to apply glue. You need the right volume, the correct temperature, and a steady, consistent technique. There’s a host of techniques that are used by decoupage artists. For example, to lighten a picture, Charlie uses cotton buds to apply lighter paints and fade the colours of a photo’s background into the rest of the furniture. When going for an aesthetic that’s more traditional, Charlie uses brown candle wax and pour it all over the furniture, then he uses a cloth to remove patches.
Stay up-to-date with Charlie Farrugia’s work by following his Facebook page
Follow Charlie Farrugia’s page ‘Upcycling Projects by Charlie Farrugia‘ to stay up to date with his latest creations. If you’re interested in a commission, you can send him a message via his page. Charlie Farrugia also regularly posts on local group Id-Dar Maltija.
What’s great about creative DIY upcycling-creatives like Charlie Farrugia, Sonya and Tony, and Eva Fekete is that they make available furniture that is unique and stands-out at reasonable prices most homeowners can afford. We’re not arguing that you fill your house exclusively with upcycled furniture. Transforming and restoring furniture takes time, expertise and money, which means upcycled furniture pieces are not necessarily going to be cheap. In many cases, buying mass-manufactured products to furnish your home is simply a question of being smart with your money. In-fact, we offer some tips on buying furniture online in this article.
The point isn’t to necessarily furnish your entire place with upcycled and DIY furniture (although with enough time, it can certainly be done), our point is one good, upcycled furniture piece can be just what you need to inject character into your home.
You may have already spotted Charlie Farrugia and his unique decoupage works on local Facebook groups like id-Dar Maltija; it’s likewise likely you’re familiar with Charlie if you follow VALE, a Maltese TV Show dedicated to sustainable designs, goods and practices.
From the House(.mt):
Today marked the last programme of Vale for this season. VALE is hosted by TV personality Valerie Vella and Carlo, local DIY expert and store owner in Naxxar. We recommend you stay up-to-date with VALE by either following their Facebook page or subscribing to Carlo’s youtube channel, a fantastic avenue for content related to DIY!